Chronic Back Pain - Prevent Back Surgery
Back Pain Prevention
One of the reasons people over 40 seek medical attention is back or neck pain. If you have back pain or if you have been diagnosed with a back or neck problem, such as spinal stenosis, there may still be ways to avoid back surgery.
Back pain may be caused by arthritis, osteoporosis or a traumatic injury. One of the most simple ways to try to prevent back surgery is doing some easy stretches in the morning. I wish I had tried other pain reduction remedies before having back surgery, because I have had two 8 hour back surgeries without improvement in my pain.
Neck pain may be lessened by stretching you head toward your shoulder, then toward your chest and repeat several times.
By making stretches or simple exercises part of your morning routine, you could find significant relief. Simple leg lifts while tightening your abdominal muscles may be helpful. Another such exercise is explained below.
The Abdominal Contractions
- Lie on your back, knees bent with your hands resting at your side
- Tighten your abdominal muscles without holding your breath
- Then, hold your breath for 5 seconds
- Relax your body
- Repeat this exercise 10 times
The video below shows some other helpful stretches.
4 Best Lower Back Stretches for Pain
Other Ways to Treat Back and Pain
There are several other ways to treat back health, such as:
- Yoga - Limited research shows the benefit
- Walk 2-3 times weekly for 20 to 40 minutes
- Swimming in a slow, well-controlled manner
- Over-the-Counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Spinal manipulation done by a chiropractor or physical therapist
- Nonsteroidal prescriptions from your doctor
- A back brace my help depending on the location of the back pain
- Steroid injections given by a pain management doctor provides some relief
- Pain medications that include hydrocodone or oxycodone
What is Radiofrequency Neurotomy?
Radiofrequency neurotomy or ablation is used as a treatment for chronic pain that does not respond to any other remedy. Radiofrequency neurotomy actually uses heat that is generated by radio waves. They target specific nerves that cause the pain and turn off the nerve’s ability to send pain signals to the brain. Radiofrequency neurotomy is also called radiofrequency ablation.
Radiofrequency neurotomy is commonly used is for neck pain or back pain. It may also be used for knee or hip joint pain. There are several benefits to this procedure.
Some people can avoid surgery using this treatment. It typically gives the patient immediate pain relief lasting for approximately 6-12 months, and in some cases for years. It decreases their need for pain medication and improves function. It allows the patient to return to work or their former activities.
Radiofrequency Neurotomy Procedure Explained
First, the patient must lie facedown on a table. Lidocaine is used to numb an area of the skin near the pain. An intravenous medication will be given for mild to moderate sedation. Then, the thin needles are inserted on each side of the painful area to deliver radio waves to the painful nerves. Image scanning (fluoroscopy) is used by the doctor to check for proper needle placement.
Microelectrodes are inserted through the needles, and the doctor will ask if you feel a tingling sensation. Initially, a small radiofrequency current is passed through the electrode to actually heat your nerve tissue. The current will briefly recreate the usual pain and cause a muscle twitch. This is to ensure the correct nerves are targeted, then the nerves will be numbed with an anesthetic. A controlled amount of radiofrequency will then be used to heat the tip of the needles to disrupt the pathway from the nerves to the brain.
Cervical Radiofrequency Neurotomy Procedure
Expected Results From this Procedure
Radiofrequency neurotomy procedures work better for some than others, but it is not a permanent fix for either back or neck pain. It is often effective enough to allow you to enter a rehabilitation program. Patients are told to take it easy for the first 24 hours, and someone else should drive them home after the procedure.
Complications are very rare, but some temporary effects may include:
- Weakness or numbness in your legs
- Swelling and bruising at the injection site
- Burning and/or hypersensitivity over the injection site
- Superficial skin infections over the injection site
If you have any discomfort at the injection site, use an ice pack for relief. Wait 24
hours before bathing. Any soreness will be gone in 1-2 days.
Conditions Causing Chronic Pain
If you have suffered whiplash or another injury this may be a cause of chronic pain. Osteoporosis, arthritis and spinal stenosis are also causes of chronic pain.
Radiofrequency neurotomy is not a good option for everyone, but it does reduce chronic pain for many people sometimes lasting for several months. It improves function for many people when everything else has failed. The nerves that cause the pain must be targeted for this procedure to work effectively.
This procedure will usually help reduce pain for people with lower back pain and for arthritis in the spine for 12 months or more. Over 70% of patients get substantial relief. This is an excellent remedy to avoid taking opioid medications for pain. I have not had this procedure, but I have 2 friends who experienced relief using this method.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Pamela Oglesby